Why some restaurants are delaying dine-in service

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — While Monday marks the first day Michigan bars and restaurants can reopen their dining areas since the pandemic started, some West Michigan businesses are holding off.

The West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce says eight local Latinx-owned restaurants plan to keep their dine-in areas closed for the rest of June:

They all remain open for takeout, delivery and curbside pickup orders.

“Today, we have come together as Latinx-owned restaurants to ensure that the health
and safety of our customers, employees, and the community remain the highest priority,” the group said in a statement.

“We will continue to monitor COVID-19 to ensure that we are implementing procedures to protect our customers and employees. We ask that you continue to support local restaurants! We miss seeing our clients on a daily basis and look forward to the day we open our dining room to bring you the authentic family dining experience that you deserve,” the statement concludes.

Latinx-owned restaurants aren’t alone in their decision to delay dine-in services. Mark Sellers, founder of the parent company to HopCat, Stella’s and Grand Rapids Brewing Company and co-owner of Max’s South Seas Hideaway is reopening his restaurants on June 13.

“We’re not going to race to be the first open. I don’t want to be the guinea pig,” he said in a May interview with News 8.

“What I’m worried about is making dumb mistakes that we could have prevented if we had just learned from other people’s mistakes by watching what they did wrong. You know, I’d rather wait… see what other people do wrong, learn from it, and then not do it when we open,” he added.

Mertens Hospitality owner Anthony Tangorra says starting two ghost restaurants has given him some flexibility in reopening New Hotel Mertens Brasserie.

“We have the benefit of starting 9th Street Steaks, which will allow us to not have to rush and open our sit-down dining at the first chance that the governor gives us,” he told News 8 last month. “Some restaurants will have to do that… certainly they rely on it.”